Starting a clothing company is about more than just having a passion for fashion. You also need to be equally artistic and business-minded. With an on-trend clothing line and the right marketing campaign and business strategy, anyone can be successful.
Are you a fashion designer or apparel entrepreneur looking to catapult your brand to the top? Read on to explore a guide on what it takes to start your own clothing company.
Developing The Clothing Company Brand
Your brand identity is so important when developing your clothing line. This is such a personal choice that also has to resonate with enough people to make them want to express themselves through your apparel. You also have to consider the connection you create with your customers. Young buyers are looking for authentic brand voices whose beliefs align with their own. It isn’t just about creating fashionable, quality clothing anymore. You need to make decisions regarding your company’s mission and behavior on the world stage.
For some, environmental friendliness and sustainability is the driving force behind their fashion. While others want to focus on ultra-high quality materials and design. Illya Shpetrik, the mind behind Shpetrik Fashion is one of those whose fashion is on a mission.
“Shpetrik fashion is committed towards environment development and sustainability. As a team, we keep working on different ways to improve the environment.” Illya believes that a clothing brand is more than just a label and encourages all designers to take responsibility for their decisions when choosing materials, manufacturers, and even shipping providers.
Making It Official
Once you have a voice and brand aesthetic, it’s time to consider the paperwork. This might seem like the most boring part of starting your company, but it’s also the most important. Deciding on the incorporation structure of your business, licensing and permitting, finding manufacturers, and pitching to potential investors can all make or break your business. Take your time and make sure you’re informed about the legalities of running a business in your region. It makes your business stronger and ensures you present a professional face when presenting your ideas to investors.
Play With The Numbers
Sales and profits are really important, but what you should be thinking about first are your startup costs. These costs may include everything from your logo design and website to overhead at a physical space that you’re renting. Are you going to need invoicing and payroll software? What about a payment gateway? Have you considered fabrics, manufacturing, and shipping costs? All of these are going to cut into your bottom line. As you tally up your costs, it should give you a good idea of what you should be charging for your clothing in order to ensure that you’re making a profit.
While starting a business can be all-consuming at times, it’s critical to your mental and physical health that you set boundaries for yourself and others. If you notice that you’ve been working 15-hour days for two weeks straight without a break, it might be time to take some me-time.
Nathan Bae, CEO of Hyper Denim, touches on what it means to maintain your mental health, drive, and motivation during some of the most difficult phases of starting your business.
“What started me in this industry is my passion for fashion. That’s what helps me keep going through difficult phases. Also, unlike a stable job, there can be many ups and downs when you run your own business. I spend a lot of time focusing on my mental and physical health to prepare for those difficult times. I do some Peloton, surf, snowboard, and also lift weights when I get a chance in the office.”
Scheduling time for working out and spending time with your family might seem like it’s unnecessary, but when you devote yourself to your work, it’s easy to let these things fall by the wayside.
Sales & Marketing Planning
Your branding is done, your inventory is sitting in a warehouse ready for sale, and your website is up and running. Now, it’s time to create a sales and marketing campaign to funnel customers to your website. It takes more than just posting on social media to get people to buy! Take a page from April Davis’s book. As the Creative Director of Wholesale Fashion Square, she’s responsible for so many aspects of sales and advertising.
“From website maintenance and daily email marketing to photoshoot coordination and maintaining our social media presence, I’m often responsible for keeping everything on track,” says April. “When you want to keep the look and feel of your brand authentic and consistent, it often means taking the reins yourself.”
A really big challenge for many fledgling clothing brands is saving enough money to sustain your business. If you can fund your clothing company without outside help, go for it, but many others need a little financial assistance.
Julian O’hayon, the co-founder of Blvck Paris, has an innovative approach to funding his fashion brand. He attracts investors and customers alike by building a community, listening to feedback, and focusing on his company’s strengths. His approach to branding and investing has resulted in two major lifestyle brands that bring in up to $500,000 per month!
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